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The Fralin Museum at U.Va. Highlights Drawings in ‘Corot to Cézanne’ Exhibition, Opening Jan. 25

The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia will feature works from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in the traveling exhibition “Corot to Cézanne: French Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.” The exhibition opens Jan. 25 and runs through June 2.

The Mellons’ gifts to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts include not only the sporting art and other French, British and American paintings and sculptures on permanent display, but also more than 1,000 prints and drawings. “‘Corot to Cézanne’ represents a noteworthy opportunity to see these works together; normally, because of their natural fragility, these drawings can only be shown on a rotating basis,” said Bruce Boucher, director of The Fralin Museum of Art and the exhibition’s curator.

The exhibition charts the history of works on paper in 19th-century France, and includes highlights from the Mellon collection of French drawings as well as a small selection of other works from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ holdings. The works span almost 150 years, from the 19th to the early 20th centuries, and also feature a select group of drawings by non-French artists.

The exhibition opens with the Romantic period and showcases works by well-known names such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Eugène Delacroix and Théodore Géricault. Masterful portraits by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres are included, as well as pre-Impressionist works by Johan Jongkind and Eugène Boudin.

A large section of Impressionist works shows Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot and Camille Pissarro as astute observers of modern life. Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne are also present with a small selection of masterpieces. Finally, modern artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse bring this choice survey to a close.

Paul Mellon had an affinity for such works, writing in his autobiography: “… preliminary drawings or sketches in oil or pastel often have an immediacy and emotional appeal far greater than the final canvas.”

Additional museum programming will accompany this exhibition, which builds on the relationship between U.Va. and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and continues to expand the audience for the latter’s broad collection. According to director Alex Nyerges, “The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is proud to partner with The Fralin Museum of Art and to share these great artworks with the U.Va. and Charlottesville communities.”

The Fralin Museum of Art, located at 155 Rugby Road, one block from the Rotunda, is open Tuesdays through Sundays, from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

The Fralin Museum of Art’s programming is made possible by the generous support of The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation.

This exhibition has been organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and is supported by The Fralin Museum of Art Volunteer Board, Albemarle Magazine, and Ivy Publications LLC’s Charlottesville Welcome Book.

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